Though based on two Edgar Allen Poe stories, Masque of the Red Death relies more upon its mood and atmosphere than its story values for its success. During a devastating 12th-century plague called "The Red Death," the decadent, devil-worshipping Prince Prospero (Vincent Price) holds court over a bizarre masked ball. Already established as a sadistic torturer, Prospero insists that his "guests" indulge in numerous depraved games, most of them ending with someone's death. Only two innocents are permitted to escape intact, but they go through the torments of the Damned to do so. Hazel Court is on hand as a Satanist who brands her breast for Price's bored amusement, while Patrick Magee is horribly burned to death by "Hop Frog" (Skip Martin), Price's demonic flunkey. The literally diabolical performance of Vincent Price is superbly complemented throughout by the crimson-dominated cinematography of Nicholas Roeg. Unlike many of Roger Corman's economical Price/Poe projects, The Masque of the Red Death boasts a generous budget, which the canny filmmaker exploits to the utmost.
by Hal Erickson synopsis